Want to get your fix of high-octane video game shooting action, but don’t want to pay $60 for the latest current-generation titles? These 10 PC games have you covered. From early 90s classics to mid-2000s award-winners, you can get every one of these games for less than ten bucks.
1. Shogo: Mobile Armor Division (1998)
This 1998 classic is a great example of Japanese mecha style. Drawing from anime and manga, the artistic style is notably dated, but still fun, and the irreverent humor is fantastic. Take the role of Sanjuro Makabe and shoot your way through a mystery that involves faked deaths, shadowy organizations, giant mechs, and other staples of Japanese shooters.
It’s definitely aged, but still a blast. The enemies aren’t especially varied or smart, but your arsenal of weapons is fun and the combat is pretty fast. And for only six bucks, it’s almost impossible to pass up.
Buy Shogo from GOG ($5.99)
2. Unreal Gold (1998)
If you want fast-paced, giblet-packed action with a mystery, Unreal Gold is your game. Your prison ship crashes on a mysterious and dangerous planet, and you have to figure out how to stay alive and what’s going on. The variety of weapons, interesting story, and fast-paced shooter action make this an absolute classic, even if it’s not as well-known as its Tournament cousins.
It’s one of the first great 3D shooters, and the gorgeous lighting, lush environments, and tense gameplay made it a standout upon release. It certainly pales in comparison to today’s graphical wonders, but it’s absolutely worth a play. The Return to Na Pali expansion is included in the gold version. And if you like Unreal, you can get the sequel for $10 too.
Buy Unreal Gold from GOG ($9.99)
3. Unreal Tournament 2004
If you’re familiar with the Unreal universe, it’s likely because of an iteration of the Tournament series or the game engine. The 2004 entry was a great one, with 95 maps, 32 characters, 10 game modes (including the ridiculously fun Assault Mode), and vehicular combat. It’s one of the most important games in multiplayer shooter history.
The graphics aren’t bad for being almost 15 years old, and the off-the-wall weaponry is still a blast. If you’re a fan of games like Call of Duty or Destiny, and haven’t played UT2004, you’re missing out on an important piece of history.
4. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six (1998)
The Rainbow Six series has become a mainstay of tactical shooters, but the progenitor of the series stands alone as one of the most important games of the genre. You’ll need to plan your tactics carefully, take enemy movements and loadouts into account, and move deliberately.
Another entry from the late 90s, Rainbow Six definitely looks its age. But the training, planning, and executing are top-notch, and the missions are both challenging and tense. The sounds in the game were especially great for their time. If you like Tom Clancy games but don’t want quite as much tactical planning, you can also nab Ghost Recon for ten bucks.
5. F.E.A.R. Platinum (2005)
Dead Space and BioShock might hold the modern crown for tense first-person shooters, but 2005’s F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) set the bar high with intense action and a terrifying little girl that serves as the game’s menacing secret. The plot begins short on story, but revelations hit hard throughout the rest of the game. Combine that with quick shooting action, and you have a game that stands the test of time.
The Platinum edition also includes the Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate expansions, giving you the chance to learn more about the forces at play in the game. And the story continues with the 2009 sequel, also available for $9.99.
Buy F.E.A.R. Platinum on GOG ($9.99)
6. Star Wars Battlefront II (2005)
I have to admit: this is near the very top of my best-games-of-all-time list. I absolutely love it. And despite being released in 2005, it’s still fantastic. Take the role of a front-line grunt in the Empire or the Rebellion and start shooting. The variety of weapons, vehicles, and landscapes puts you right in the action. You can even pilot a TIE Fighter for a space battle and then land in an opponent’s capital ship to attack on foot.
The latest Battlefront game received mixed reviews, but there’s no arguing that this entry in the series is phenomenal. Fight your way across the galaxy, both in the prequel and original trilogies, and be prepared to spend a lot of hours doing it.
7. Far Cry (2004)
The third and fourth entries in this series have received a lot of hype over the past few years. But to really dive into the Far Cry universe, you should start at the beginning. Anyone who’s played a Far Cry game will find it familiar — prepare for sandbox-style shooting action with lots of guns, jeeps, and story exposition.
For a 2004 game, the graphics are still pretty good, and the do-whatever-you-want style of shooter action is an absolute blast. Don’t forget to grab Far Cry 2 for the same price to continue the adventure.
Buy Far Cry on GOG ($9.99)
8. The Ultimate Doom (1993)
Do I really need to say anything about this one? Doom is the first-person shooter. Even though its 1993 sensibilities are very different from today’s, it’s a great game. Fight through loads of demons that explode into impressive showers of blood and gore. Explore a Martian science facility. Survive. That’s really all there is to it. For a real blast from the past, try playing without a mouse.
Even today, it’s easy to see why Doom triggered such controversy. Games (including Doom‘s own eponymous 2016 release) have pushed the envelope further, but there’s no denying that this game was divisive in its time. For more hellish 1990s shooter action, grab Doom II and the Final Doom expansion too.
Buy The Ultimate Doom on GOG ($9.99)
9. FreeSpace 2 (1999)
Not all shooters are land-based. FreeSpace 2 is a classic space combat game. Take control of your fighter and fend off the massive swarms of Shivans invading the galaxy before they wipe out the human race. The huge numbers of ships, gigantic capitals, and fierce battles make this one of the best space games ever made.
It doesn’t hold a candle to the size of EVE Online, but if you’re looking for a space dogfighting game that has really fun combat and a surprisingly great story, FreeSpace 2 should be high on your list.
Buy FreeSpace 2 on GOG ($9.99)
10. Wing Commander 4 (1995)
The Wing Commander series has had some great entries, and only you can decide which one is the best. The fourth entry is a popular one, and you can get it for dirt cheap. The full-motion cutscenes filmed with big-name actors, engaging space combat, and interesting story make it a fan favorite of the genre.
You can go all the way back to Wing Commander 1 and 2 to start or just skip ahead to this one. An impressive seven different Wing Commander games are available on GOG, so there’s no shortage of space-fighting action to be had.
Buy Wing Commander 4 on GOG ($5.99)
What other great shooters can you get for less than $10? Share your favorites in the comments below!